The Merciless by Danielle Vega

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The book’s about a girl named Sofia who moves to a new town and befriends the three popular girls (Riley, Alexis and Grace). They want her to spy on their former friend, Brooklyn, who’s now more “alternative” (dark eyeliner, tattoos, piercings, etc.). It’s literally Mean Girls in reverse for the first few chapters, but the book knows that and at one point Sofia quips “Most girls would just write a burn book.” (Pg. 112)
This is much more violent and gory than Mean Girls though. There are very detailed descriptions of physical harm and dead bodies. The book moves along at a quick pace and once it gets to the part where Riley (the head popular girl) is trying to “save” Brooklyn, the pace really picks up. This ends in kind of a cliff hanger, but I already own book two. I actually bought that one first. Oops.
I enjoyed this, though I think there could’ve been a bit more character development. We mostly learn about Sofia through her interactions with her grandmother and flashbacks and not much is really mentioned about the other characters. One other small issue I had, and it might be petty, is that there’s a song that’s supposed to be skipping on a cd in the book and it’s going “shout to the, shout to the,” but the song is “Shout at the Devil” not “Shout to the Devil,” so the lyrics are wrong.
I’d recommend it to anyone who likes young adult/horror who doesn’t mind swearing. It was also kind of fun reading a pink book with a pentagram on the cover on public transportation. I gave it 4/5 stars.

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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I read an excerpt of this book on Riveted (rivitedlit.com) and was hooked immediately. After waiting a month or so my local Books A million finally got it and I happily bought it. I love the cover. It’s so pretty!

The Wicked Deep is about a town that celebrates the Swan Season each June. During this time, three sisters who were drowned 200 years ago come back from the dead, each one chooses a local girl to possess and they each choose a local boy to drown.

The characters and setting are unique and the story moves along at a good pace. The main character, Penny, is relatable and easy to identify with. I really felt for her with her family situation. The romance in the book does happen kind of quickly, but I didn’t mind and I thought it worked well. There’s a great quote about love in the book that goes “Love is an enchantress–devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.” (pg. 177) that I feel is an accurate description of how love can be.

I like the different elements of magic in this story: the curse of the Swan sisters, fortune telling, tea reading, etc. The town of Sparrow, Oregon is a very interesting place and the author made me feel like I could see each shop and dock with her descriptions.

I really enjoyed Ernshaw’s writing style and there are a few plot twists to keep things interesting. The first one caught me so off guard that I actually said “Woah.” out loud and then wished I had someone to discuss the book with. The other twists were good too.

I rated this one 5/5 and I recommend this book to everyone.

The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #15)

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I won this book through a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads and then realized that I already owned a hardcover copy from one of my thrift shop trips. Oops.
It took me forever (four and a half months) to read this because I just couldn’t get into it. This review probably has spoilers.  Anita has six boyfriends of various supernatural types (vampire, werewolf, wereleopard) and they’re being threatened by mysterious, powerful vampires known as “The Harlequin.”
Since Anita needs to feed the ardeur every however many hours, there’s lots of sex. Jean-Claude and Richard get put in comas and they need more power, so she sleeps with the head were-rat and they take the whole rat clans power using the ardeur, followed by doing the same thing with the head were swan. I found myself wondering how she even gets people to sleep with her, but then I remembered that any guy who sees her wants her/falls in love with her. Silly me.
Finally some action scenes that aren’t in a bedroom happen and, though she’s injured, Anita’s able to miraculously heal. Unfortunately, someone dies and her friend’s son in injured. He’s in love with her too.  Her work friend, Dolph, confronts her about sleeping with monsters and being the human servant of the master of the city, but she doesn’t want to hear it, so she makes him leave.
They get an execution warrant for the vamps, but the vamps call and threaten them first, so they head off for the big showdown. At this point, it just wasn’t exciting enough. She was more concerned about her shirt showing her cleavage at times than fighting vampires. I really don’t think she had her priorities straight. Someone else died during the climactic showdown, but Anita and co won.

Honestly, at that point, I kind of didn’t care. I hate feeling like that with books, but I didn’t. I felt like a deserved a cookie for finally finishing it. I’m done with this series. This book’s going in my donation pile. Both copies.

Review of The Ghost Sitter by Peni R. Griffin

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The Ghost Sitter is is a children’s book about a young girl named Charlotte who moves into a new house with her family, only to discover that it’s haunted by the ghost of a little girl who lived there 50 years ago. Susie, the ghost, doesn’t seem to know that she’s dead and Charlotte wants to help her move on.
The book isn’t spooky at all, so it’s great for younger (elementary) readers. It uses the usual ghost detecting methods (cold spots, random breezes, disembodies voices, etc), which I expected. I like that Susie’s not a scary ghost. She just likes to play with the other kids. I like the scene where they’re tossing the toy around in a circle like a normal group of kids.
It wraps up nicely, reflects on the bonds between siblings and has a happy ending. I’d recommend this to younger readers and anyone who wants  nice, light read. I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Heart of the Pack by Jenny Frame

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Heart of the Pack is a paranormal lesbian romance book with werewolves in it.  Some common themes such as a mate being chosen at birth and having to hide their identity from humans are used, but some new things are introduced.

I love the setting of this book. Wolfgang County sounds like a nice, welcoming place. Everyone cares about each other and they’re like a big family. They own businesses, have families and just happen to all be werewolves. These wolves are a little different because they can shift, or partially shift, whenever they want to. No full moon required.

The book is told from three different points of view, but it’s all written in third person. The first pov is the main character, Caden’s. She’s second in command of the pack and she’s a “lone wolf.” The second point of view belongs to Selena, an anxious newcomer who’s trying to escape her horrible family, and the third is the antagonist Leroux’s. She’s the leader of a pack of bad werewolves. The characters are well written and they each have their own distinct voice. It worked pretty well, but I wish Leroux was a little more fleshed out.

There are a lot of side characters and most of them (the main character’ mates, Selena’s family) are well written with the exception of the “elite wolves” (soldiers).  I honestly didn’t know what gender half of them were.

I like that the couples were a mix of gay and straight and that they used the terms “mater” (for the submissive wolves) and “pater” (for dominant wolves) regardless of gender. The way mating worked was a bit odd, but also different than what I’ve read in other werewolf stories.

The only things I didn’t like were the sex scenes and the fact that not much was done about the bad wolves. I get why the sex scenes were included, but they were awkward and creepy. “Fill up my belly!” weirded me out every time.

I gave this 3 out of 5 stars. I’d read a sequel if there was one. I recommend it to people who like werewolf romance stories. I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Wolfgang-County-Jenny-Frame/dp/1626395667?ie=UTF8&keywords=heart%20of%20the%20pack&qid=1463453615&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1

Review of Spring 2016 Penguin Teen Preview Sampler

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This sampler was ok, but it’s not the best one that I’ve read. It’s not the worst either.
The Dark Days Club is the only one that I want to read the rest of. I’m a sucker (no pun intended) for vampire books and I want to know more about the “ghouls.”

Salt to the Sea isn’t something that I normally read. The writing was nice, but books set in war times don’t interest me much.

I have been hearing a lot about Rebel of the Sands, but I’m not sure that I’d be interested in reading more of it. The main character was ok, but I couldn’t see why the book is being so heavily hyped by people.

Wink Poppy Midnight is another one that I’ve been hearing a lot about. The characters were interesting, but I had trouble knowing who was talking. I’m not sure if that was a formatting issue or if the author really does abruptly switch characters.

The Passion of Dolssa was alright. The idea of the main character using her visions to help people find their match was nice.

I like getting these samplers because they help me decide whether or not I want to read books that I’ve been hearing about and they help me discover new ones. I got this for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

March Book Haul and a Neat Kindle Update

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Hi, everyone! I went to the thrift shop on Monday and got some new books. They are:

Down A Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

The Green Book by Rogers & Kostigen

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

The Importance of Music to Girls by Lavinia Greenlaw

The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) by Melissa De La Cruz

I was excited to find such a nice copy of The Van Alen Legacy for only $0.90. Have you read any of these? If you have, what did you think?

In other news, my Kindle got updated with the new home page. It’s pretty neat!

Kindle Update

The main part on the left side shows what book I’m currently reading, or the first book in my library if I’m not reading anything, and it shows how far I’ve read in the right hand corner of the cover. On the right side, it shows my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf and my Amazon Wishlist. Along the bottom, it shows books that my Goodreads friends have recently added. Under that, it shows a book that Amazon’s advertising.

They also added new butons at the top. There’s a button so you can put the Kindle in “airplane mode” during travel and buttons for Goodreads and Amazon. One of the things that I’ve really been enjoying is the recommendations section under the drop down menu. You can get recommendations from Amazon and Goodreads now. Has your Kindle gotten the new homepage? If it did, do you like it?